Monday, November 10, 2014

Sick Day

Sad Pumpkin
I already missed a day of work. I was supposed to work an extra shift on Halloween and I wound up at home vomiting instead. Holidays and parties are big deals for recreation programs with a lot of extra work so my not going will have been a problem to my co-workers. Besides-- I wanted to go! The staff and residents could dress in costumes, and we had decorations, cake and treats to give out. There was a pumpkin carving contest,  a musician performing, and a bake sale with the proceeds going to the Alzheimer's association and that all sounded very exciting to me. It is a larger event with the residents families and our community invited to share in the fun.

One of the issues with working in places with a larger group of people.. is that you get exposed to a whole lot of different infectious organisms. So many residents, staff, and visitors all in one place and in closer physical contact increase your risk of picking something nasty up.  There are several categories of how disease is spread. It can be via what you are eating or drinking, by touching contaminated surfaces, by touching someone or some animal who is infected or by breathing in air that is contaminated. All the different types of microorganisms have their own particular needs for spreading and what they need to multiply.

In fall we aggravate some of the issues by closing windows and turning on forced air heating systems that circulate air from one area to another. Even with good filters the risk of air born infections increases.  People let me yell here; BEING COLD does not actually cause colds despite the common belief. Colds are caused by viruses. Period. Now being cold makes you huddle together with other people who might be infected. Being very cold can be a stress on your system and make your immune system more stressed and therefore less able to fight away that virus. Being sick with something else, being exhausted, being malnourished or on certain medications can mess with your immune system big time.

Where things get really serious is that infections can be devastating to people who have compromised immune systems. It is a real danger to so many residents of nursing homes.  There is a huge amount of effort put into sanitation efforts and other methods of preventing the spread of infections but the fact is people sneeze and cough. Visitors might not even realize they are getting sick and could still be contagious.

What can you do? Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizers.  Eat nutritious foods.  Get plenty of rest and basically try to live as healthy a life as possible.

And--- if  you are sick don't share your germs. Stay home and get better, even if it means missing the Halloween party.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Back to Work


Guess what?

 I got a JOB a couple weeks ago. It is a very little one but it is a real job --- they are paying for my knowledge and ability! 

I am working in a personal care home as a part-time Recreation Facilitator.  The job is as a replacement for a lady who is on maternity leave and is listed to continue until around August 2015, but it can end with two weeks notice if the new Mommy chooses to come back sooner.

This personal care home/ nursing home is part of a larger chain of personal care homes and assisted living facilities so when the time comes I can be applying for internally posted positions. There has been a lot of time spent in job orientation. I spent 2 days being trained at their regional orientation for all new employees and then a day getting trained at my new workplace. After that I have spent several days basically job shadowing the other recreation staff and learning how they do various activities in this facility. Now I am officially able to work independently but as part of the team. I do still need a lot of help and advice from my co-workers  in order to learn the best way to do the various tasks I need to carry out.

The facility is pretty large with around 170 residents. The recreation department is organized with a department coordinator, 4 full time recreation facilitators, 2 part time facilitators and a part time spiritual care facilitator (chaplain). This group also has a couple casual staff that can be called in and they have many helpful volunteers that share their time. There is also a resident cat that lives in and around the recreation office and does his best to keep us all entertained in exchange for some petting.

I am only scheduled to work 4 days in a two week period and I think that is a great way to start. It lets me build up my stamina slowly and get to know the residents and staff gradually. I know there will be a few extra shifts that I get to pick up, for example, this Friday I get to come in and help with the big Halloween party.

There are a lot of challenges for me in this job but so far I have been up to it.  I will admit I have been getting home and collapsing on the couch for the entire evening.  There is a lot of time spent going up and down in an elevator and I find that triggers a fair bit of nausea but the alternative of walking up and down countless stairs makes the elevator seem worthwhile. I am having an extra hard time remembering people’s names and room location but I will just keep working on it. I am using all the memory tricks I have learned in the past 6 years and they really do help.

I ran a really good program yesterday. It was a discussion group with 6 people.  I talked about pets a bit and then I read a short story from Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul. We talked about the pets we had when we were younger and about the differences between growing up with animals when you live in the country or in the city. We also talked about unusually pets people sometime have. We started off a little hesitatingly since the ladies and gentlemen really don’t know me but pretty soon we were all smiling and laughing. When I ended the group I asked if they enjoyed our chat and a couple of them wanted to know if we could do this again next Sunday.
I knew then that I had done a good job.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer Time

Bob is teaching our granddaughter a first song on the ukulele
What have I been up to this summer?
Not really all that much. 

What I have done is spend more time at the lake, more time just cruising the internet and more time napping. With Bob's recent retirement we have had a unique time in our lives to just be together.

I have spent a lot of my time tweaking my resume and looking at the job ads. I have read an interesting assortment of library books including  Get Back to Work Fast- a No Nonsense Guide For Finding Your Next Job which is good for a more mature person trying to get reemployed.  What Color is your Parachute? is a classic that is helpful in figuring out what kind of jobs might interest a person. I even read a surprisingly useful book called- Landing a Job for Canadians for Dummies.  I have even been saving pins on Pinterest about how to ace interview questions.  I might be overthinking this.  I have wanted to get back to work for such a long time. The prospect of a real job is both exciting and a little intimidating all at the same time.

 Recently we have been working on cleaning up a lot of junk from our house. We tend to hang on to old ways and the things we don't need anymore and my heart is saying it is time for a fresh start. My parents were very frugal people. The depression years taught them not to waste anything and I was raised to make use of every plastic margarine container, piece of scrap fabric or tiny piece of wood. My husband was raised the same way so the two of us make a bad combo for keeping things.  We know that things have to change.

Right now my husband is out in the garage sorting through the mountain of stuff we have had piled up for years. We saved all those things because someday they would be useful.  

It is hard to pick up an item and make those hard decisions.

Will I use this item again?
Is there someone else who can use this item?
Have I waited so long to use this that it is now simple garbage?

I have a huge heavy box of record albums, mainly my late fathers, out in the garage and we have a stereo system in the basement that could play them.
I look at all those albums and think of my dad with some happy memories but I don't for a minute think I will ever play them again. If I actually wanted to hear the Lennon Sisters I would watch them on YouTube with enhanced audio. The next question is could they be worth something if we sold them? There is a maybe in my mind about that one but I bet the dollar value selling them is no where near worth the stress of it all.

Now that we have decided to part with those records the question pops up-- Are they garbage after all? If we take them to a charity resale shop will they just have to pay a staff person to carry them to a dumpster? The other resale place buys material that is picked up from homes or community drop off areas by charities like the Canadian Diabetes and it  pays the charity by the weight of the load. Those ol' LP records are pretty heavy you know.

Ultimately it seems easier to use some of the scrap lumber leaning on the opposite side of the garage to make a new shelf and put the record box back up.  We could choose to leave the decision one more day.. or even  longer.

Just to brag a bit we have recently hauled 1 load of "electronic waste" and one load of scrap metal out of our lives and  3 SUV loads off to charity. Our garbage and recycling containers have been filled to the brim every week.

Change is hard.
Really hard.

You can't turn the clock back.

I can't sit and listen to those records with my dad ever again, but I will always appreciate music and I do love singing those old songs to my grand-kids.

I will never again have the kind of job I loved 20 years ago but I think, just perhaps, the new type of job could be even more wonderful.

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